Meta Description: While there are a list of benefits to using AI technology in nursing homes and hospice care, there are some challenges too. Read on to learn what they are.
Five Challenges AI Technology Faces in Nursing Homes
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been making its presence felt across multiple industries. As technology continues to advance, so does the application of AI in healthcare.
With the rise of machine learning, AI applications are being used to predict patient outcomes, identify disease patterns, and automate medical procedures.
However, despite all of these advancements, AI still faces some challenges when applied to nursing homes. Here are five of the biggest ones.
Why is AI Technology Being Considered in Nursing Homes or Hospice Care?
The use of AI technology in nursing homes is becoming more common as the industry looks for ways to improve the quality of care and reduce costs. The United States Department of Health and Human Services estimates that over 1 million people are living in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living centers. These facilities provide a wide range of services, from basic health care to skilled nursing care.
Nursing home residents often require assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, grooming, and medication management. This can be difficult for staff members who may not have had much experience working with older adults.
However, the use of AI robots can help by providing an objective assessment of a resident’s needs and predicting their future behavior.
For example, if a nurse notices that a resident is struggling with hygiene, she could ask the AI system about his past habits. If it predicts he will need help with this task soon, she might schedule a visit from a personal care aide.
Another benefit of using AI technology in nursing homes or hospice care is that it can reduce the number of unnecessary hospitalizations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all Medicare spending goes toward hospital stays. By applying AI technology to assist with routine tasks, nurses can spend less time on paperwork and more time caring for patients.
Despite the potential benefits of robotic integration, this does raise some ethical concerns for the average person. For instance, a clear issue of staff layovers may come into mind when considering assistive robots for elderly care. Would the implementation mean that a caregiving staff or nurses are no longer needed when a technological solution is provided?
This would then lead to a loss of human contact in the healthcare world, which can lead to conditions in patients such as Alzheimer’s.
5 Challenges that AI Tech Faces in a Nursing Home Setting
Despite the benefits of using AI technology in a nursing home setting, several challenges are associated with its implementation. Below are five of the most significant hurdles:
Data security is a huge issue in healthcare. Nurses and doctors rely heavily on electronic health records to provide accurate care. However, hackers have become increasingly sophisticated over the past decade, targeting hospitals and clinics to steal patients’ personal information.
This makes it difficult for nurses and physicians to access critical patient data. While the industry has taken strides toward protecting sensitive information, the challenge remains.
Another big concern is cost. Healthcare providers spend billions of dollars every year on IT infrastructure. Yet, the costs continue to climb. For instance, according to a study conducted by the American Health Information Management Association, the initial cost of an EHR system was $12,500. And that doesn’t count the additional costs incurred by upgrading systems or replacing outdated hardware.
Training is another area where AI struggles. According to a survey conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, only 20 percent of healthcare workers feel confident in their ability to implement AI solutions. While training may seem like a simple fix, it requires significant investment. Not only must organizations train staff members, but they also need to invest in software and hardware upgrades.
Communication between caregivers and residents is essential to providing quality care. But it’s becoming increasingly challenging. Studies suggest that communication barriers exist among both nurses and patients.
For example, research shows that dementia patients struggle to understand instructions and communicate effectively. Meanwhile, nurses face similar issues communicating with residents.
Privacy concerns are also prevalent in nursing homes. Residents are vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and exploitation. They’re also susceptible to identity theft. A lack of privacy puts residents at risk of falling victim to scams, fraudsters, and cyber criminals. These threats are compounded by the fact that many nursing home employees aren’t trained to recognize suspicious activity.
Can AI Robots Become Effect Caregivers?
In theory, assistive robots could help solve many of the problems mentioned. But there are several hurdles standing in the way of widespread adoption.
First, most AI robots require extensive programming. This means that they can only perform specific tasks. Second, AI robots don’t always work as intended. In some cases, they fail to detect certain situations. Or they misinterpret data.
Third, not all AI robots are created equal. Some are better suited for certain jobs than others.
Despite these challenges, AI has tremendous potential to improve nursing home operations. Here are a few :
Increased Efficiency: AI robots can automate repetitive tasks. This frees up time so that caregivers can focus on more important activities.
Reduced Costs: The cost of hiring human caregivers is high. It costs about $50 per hour. By comparison, an AI robot costs about $3.60 per hour.
Better Patient Outcomes: Studies show mobile robotic balance assistants reduce falls, infections, and hospitalizations. The use of robots in these cases can improve patient satisfaction.
More Personalized Care: AI robots provide personalized care. They can track each resident’s health status and adjust their treatment accordingly.
Integrating AI into such settings can also help avoid costly mistakes. For example, if a caregiver misreads a resident’s vital signs, he or she may administer medication that doesn’t benefit them. In such cases, this technology can help organizations avoid possible tragedies and long-term malpractice cases.
The Bottom Line
AI robots have tremendous potential to improve the lives of patients living in nursing homes or in hospice care. However, these devices still have a long road ahead before they become commonplace in residential settings.